Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 06.14.02


False prophets

So the Catholic Church Bishops are going to set down some rules regarding the pedophiles that have infiltrated their ranks. How timely.

It should be clear to anyone who has followed the proceedings over the past year that the Catholic Church has become a sanctuary for perverts and child molesters. Clearly the word was out to abusers through some underground pervert grapevine that if you want to practice your pederasty, just join the Catholic priesthood.

One of the few that is being prosecuted for multiple rapes of children -- Paul Shanley a retired priest -- even spoke and belonged to NAMBLA, an organization that promotes sexual relationships between men and boys. The arrogance of that priest and Cardinal Law, who abetted his crimes, is breathtaking.

The fact that our government and judicial system even countenances the actions and inaction of the Catholic Church is a testament to its power and influence. Politicians and lawmakers have protested in faint squeaks always following the lead of the Bishops and Rome.

Cardinal Law of Boston knew full well of the unconscionable behavior of "Father" John Geoghan and yet he did nothing but transfer him from parish to parish, leaving a legacy of abused and psychologically damaged children in his wake. Cardinal Law cannot even be compelled to resign, much less spend his remaining years in maximum security as he so richly deserves.

Imagine if you will how our government officials would have descended on any wretched little cult of pseudo-Christians whose clergy was involved in child abuse. There would be swat teams to ferret out every one of them and a battalion of lawyers confiscating every document and every cent that the cult had. The members would be scattered to the four winds and the leaders would be clapped in irons till the sun burns out.

And isn't that what we would expect from our justice system?

What we get from prosecutors and politicians is a fearful whimper. We'll see a few sacrificial perverts given up by the bishops to be punished while the hundreds of other freaks just run for cover until the heat is off and they can begin to molest anew.

The pols and the prosecutors are allowing the inmates of this asylum to make the rules. They will nod approvingly as the Church decides what to do with offenders. Apparently Cardinals have decided on a 'zero tolerance' policy.

However, "there has to be a certitude that the priest did commit the act," Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua was quoted as saying.

And who is to decide that "certitude?"

Not the same body that would decide on your fate or mine if we committed such horrendous acts, that's for a friggin' certitude. If they were serious about preventing future acts of perversion, they should insist that priests not be allowed to be alone with children of either sex, ever. Most of them would probably resign if that rule were enforced.

They should also deny automatically any cash settlements to parents of abused children until after authorities have been informed. No more "Here's the dough, now sign this non-disclosure agreement."

The law must demand all records concerning all living pedophile priests and then prosecute them within an inch of their lives. They should make an example of Cardinal Law and others like him.

The hierarchy of the church has set a pattern of concealment that has resulted in the destruction of one family after another. This sham bishop's summit meeting involving the very perpetrators of the crimes they are meeting to deal with is the cruelest of jokes on these families.